Gifts to Support Research
The University of Texas at Austin is pleased to accept unrestricted gifts of funds to support the general research of a principal investigator. When unrestricted funds are provided by a donor to the university without any terms, conditions, or other obligations, the funds are not subject to facilities and administrative costs charges. As of July 1, 2008, unrestricted research gifts will be administered in the 30- account series and should be processed through the university's Development Office. The original gift award letter from the donor should be included with any gifts fund deposits and also with any new account requests.
Solicitation of philanthropic gifts from foundations, individuals or other sources for nonresearch activities and the processing of noncash gifts of equipment, and other items of use in research programs are coordinated through the Development Office. Any principal investigator-initiated proposal for equipment in response to a program announcement or Request for Proposal should be processed through the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP), just like other sponsored projects.
Research Gift Transition from 26-62 to 30- Account Series
Due to General Accounting Standards Board financial reporting guidelines (GASB 34 & 35) indicating that all gifts must be reported on financial statements when they are received, it is necessary to administer research gifts in the 30- account series rather than the 26-62 account series.
Please be aware that not all 26-62 accounts are research gifts; many of them are simply contracts or grants for which overhead has been waived. The transition discussed here pertains only to the 26-62 research gift accounts (26-62 RGA).
Contracts and Grants determined that only 26-62 RGAs set up since July 2005 will transition to the 30- account series. It is assumed that most of the 26-62 RGAs set up prior to that will soon expire or come up for renewal.
The new 30- accounts will be set up between June 23 and July 1. Free balances will be moved on July 9 (after June close on July 8). If you have deposits to make prior to July 9 and your new 30- account has already been set up, please begin using the new account.
You will need to:
- re-budget your balances on a VT2 document once they have been moved to the new 30- account.
- move active appointments to the new 30- account. Please move only that portion of the appointment from July 1, 2008 forward.
Funds to cover encumbrances on the 26-62 RGA will remain in that account; however, a review of those encumbrances should be done to ensure that they are current.
The 26-62 RGA will be inactivated as soon as the free balance, appointments, and encumbrances have been moved/cleared.
As of July 1, 2008, there should be no additional deposits into the 26-62 RGAs that were set up prior to July 2005 and remain in the 26-62 series; instead, a new 30- account should be requested through Accounting and Financial Management, and the funds should be deposited into a new 30- account. At that time, any remaining balance in the associated 26-62 RGA should be transferred to the new 30- account. This must be done on a VJ1 document by Financial Accounting and Reporting, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Research Gift Awards moved to 30- accounts may be eligible for investment into the new Strategic Competitive Fund, which allows up to $1 million of existing gift funds per chair to be invested.
Any questions concerning this issue related to the 26- account side should be directed to Henrike de Haas, email@example.com.
Any questions concerning this issue related to the 30- account side should be directed to Patricia McIntyre, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gift, Sponsored Project, or Something In Between? A Guidance Document for Processing External Funds
The Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR) in the Office of the Vice President for Development and the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) in the Office of the Vice President for Research strive to maximize the university's ability to effectively attract, process, manage, and steward external financial support.
Proper classification and processing of external funds (i.e., gifts, grants, and contracts) assures the university's ability to comply with any terms specified by the sponsor/donor, meet reporting requirements, properly recover its costs—both direct and indirect—and facilitate acceptable levels of accountability and stewardship for these funds. Classification and processing of these awards is sometimes complex and requires the exercise of informed judgment, particularly in the many cases where the nature of an award is not immediately clear.
The university defines a sponsored project to be any externally-funded research or scholarly activity that has a defined scope of work or set of objectives that provide a basis for sponsor expectations. Sponsored projects enhance and expand the educational opportunities available to undergraduate and graduate students at the university, permit research, scholarly inquiry, and the development of new knowledge, contribute to the academic achievement and stature of the institution, and assist the university in fulfilling its responsibilities to the state and the nation. The following list of characteristics is provided as a means of further clarifying how external funds from nongovernmental entities will be classified and processed at The University of Texas at Austin.
The existence of one factor alone may not be a determinant of whether projects should be channeled through OSP. Multiple factors should be considered in order to decide whether a sponsored project exists, and therefore must be processed through OSP according to procedures set forth by that office. These procedures can be found on the OSP Web site or by contacting OSP.
All research—proposals, contracts, or grants, regardless of funding source—must be processed through the Office of Sponsored Projects in order to assure research compliance issues. The following are characteristics of a sponsored project:
- Sponsor requires specific deliverables (e.g., final technical report, evaluation, technical assistance, or training). This does not include minimal requirements generally relating to required donor pledge payments and the university's commitment to effectuate the donor's intent (i.e., stewardship).
- Sponsor requires return of unexpended funds.
- Award designates a sponsor employee (agent) as project technical monitor, as opposed to designating a contact person to improve communications.
- Award contains intellectual property rights provisions and/or technology transfer.
- Award restricts or monitors publications or use of results.
- Award payments are contingent upon programmatic or fiscal reporting (e.g., specific milestones, invoices).
- Award includes boilerplate terms and conditions imposed by the project sponsor or negotiated with the sponsor by the university.
- Award requires protection of sponsor and confidential information.
- Award contains an itemized budget that requires sponsor approval to modify and/or that is subject to the provisions of federal cost accounting standards.
- Request for funding will be used to fulfill a matching or cost sharing commitment on another sponsored project or requires a matching, cost sharing, or other financial commitment from the university.
- The project is linked to other sponsored research projects or contracts being conducted by faculty/researchers.
- Project involves the use of human subjects, vertebrate animals, radioisotopes on humans, radioactive materials, recombinant DNA, human body substances, etiologic agents or proprietary materials.
Not Considered Sponsored Projects
Activities supported by a donor that are generally not considered sponsored projects may include the following characteristics:
- Award supports an unrestricted purpose or such activities as endowments (e.g., endowed chairs, professorships), capital projects (e.g., construction or renovation, equipment), general student support (e.g., scholarships, fellowships), or general research support (see also the Research Gifts section below).
- Award contains only minimal requirements generally relating to required donor pledge payments and the university's commitment to effectuate the donor's intent (i.e., stewardship).
- Award requires only minimal reporting to the sponsor donor in the form of a general statement of how funds were used (e.g., annual report, acknowledgement letter, IRS forms).
- Awards are irrevocable.
Research gifts are made to support a general area of research that:
- do not require specific deliverables.
- do not exhibit other aforementioned characteristics of a sponsored project.
Such gifts are not subject to assessment of indirect costs and are administered in the 30- account series. It is important for this type of private support to be tracked by the Office of the Vice President for Development for reporting and stewardship purposes. Like other contributions to the university, research gifts should be acknowledged by the faculty member, department chair, and/or dean upon receipt. These gifts should then be forwarded to the Office of Development for processing in a manner consistent with university policies and procedures.
OSP and CFR will work together to determine a project's classification when it includes characteristics that, taken alone, will not necessarily determine a project's classification. To obtain additional information or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact either CFR or OSP personnel.
Office of Corporate & Foundation Relations
Littlefield Home, Second Floor
Mail Code F1000
Office of Sponsored Projects
North Office Building, Suite 4.300
101 E. 27th Street